Brittney Griner’s situation in Russia after being sentenced to 9 years in prison for drug possession and smuggling hadn’t changed much until this Thursday. A new report from The Associated Press confirms that President Joe Biden himself has scheduled a meeting with the WNBA star’s family on Friday. Here’s where the information gets more interesting, as Biden is also scheduled to meet with Paul Whelan’s family as well.
Whelan is the other American who was proposed for a prisoner swap to Russia, he has been in Russian prison with espionage charges. Back in July, the United States Government announced they proposed this trade for notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout. Since then, there has been very little information about the deal made available to the public.
Why is Biden meeting Griner and Whelan’s families?
According to the report from AP, these Friday meetings are supposed to make the families feel more confident on the United States Government’s commitment to bring both Griner and Whelan back to the country. President Biden also wanted to speak directly to them in order to “connect with them on a human level as they undergo an ordeal that the Russian Government has imposed on them,” according to one of the officials who revealed this information.
AP has kept this source anonymous because the meetings haven’t been announced to the public just yet. There could be another interesting aspect to these meetings that are not being discussed. A different angle that makes these meetings even more important than they are.
According to the report, these meetings will take place separately in order to ensure each family has a private moment with the president. This meeting was reportedly also scheduled before Bill Richardson’s unconnected trip to Russia, who is known for dealing with international hostage and detainee cases.
Knowing how the United States Government operates, they wouldn’t schedule these appointments if they didn’t also have some sort of news for the families of both detainees. We are all hoping they are good news and we can see them both back in the country safe and sound.